The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Wooden Dough Boxes

Tstockton's picture
Tstockton

Wooden Dough Boxes

Just stumbled across an antique "dough box", which were large wooden boxes used for hand mixing and then proofing dough and they often had legs/were freestanding. I'm curious if anyone has ever used a wood box for the bulk portion of their sourdough proving process; my initial thoughts are that the wood could be really helpful in regulating a consistent temperature, as opposed to metal or plastic. Cons are obviously that it's a large unit, so it would only be useful for large batches (which works fine for my large batches for market), and it takes up space. 

Any other thoughts or personal experience? 

MontBaybaker's picture
MontBaybaker

What a great piece!  I've seen pictures in older European bread books, and wish I had the room for one.  Plus, I love vintage kitchen equipment.  Enjoy!

deblacksmith's picture
deblacksmith

Not to difficult for many woodworkers to make - even if the  double taper of the sides make the dovetails more difficult.  I would choose maple or beech as the wood and this could be made in a wide range of sizes.  I would guess that the dough "tubs" used by former French bakers were like this.  As I understand 2 bakers would work the dough - one on each side folding the dough back and forth to each other.

I made a cradle for our first child about like this except it had no top, and had rockers rather than the stand.  That was 50 years ago.  Damn I getting old.

Portus's picture
Portus

... and whether scrapings from between the joins will release sufficient "stuff" from which to cultivate a starter seed of yore?  More than likely though, is that such scrapings will reveal scrubbing brush bristles and the not-so-subtle flavours of carbolic household disinfectant soap!

albacore's picture
albacore

I'm guessing that there wasn't much gluten develpment in olden days breadmaking. In these troughs it probably took all your time to get everything mixed in, never mind any intensive mixing.

I reckon that loaves must have have been pretty flat (but probably tasty) back in the day.

Lance

deblacksmith's picture
deblacksmith

I believe (can't prove) that there would be more gluten development than you might think, at least in a bakery.  To begin with they likely started with a portion of dough from the day before and then they used time - as time also aids in gluten development.  (What happens in no knead bread is time). The bakers would likely work more than one tub of dough working one, letting it rest while the worked another and so on.

My Mennonite farm ancestors would take a long time to hand make bread and they would make a lot. On a typical baking day it might be a dozen loafs that the lady of the house with some help from the younger children.  Starting in the early morning after breakfast she would hand mix and work the dough while doing other cooking getting ready for the noon meal (which was the big meal of the day.)  In the early afternoon, shape the loafs and then bake in the late afternoon.  Lots of rise and not a flat bread.  They didn't bake every day but several times a week.  

 

albacore's picture
albacore

Thanks - I stand corrected! I wonder if there are any drawings or paintings that show the sort of loaves that were produced?

Lance

Tstockton's picture
Tstockton

I had a similar thought, that developing gluten would be similar to using the stretch and fold method in large plastic bins. I would probably start with most of the mixing in a spiral mixer, and then transfer to the box for a few stretch and folds and the rest of the bulk. Mostly curious of how different the wood would be to plastic or metal in terms of temp regulation and whether it would pull too much moisture out of the dough...

It also would be nice to have a moveable container with legs; we keep our house cool in the winter time, and it'd be nice to be able to move it closer to our heater, and off the floor, when the kitchen is cold. 

And to clarify, I don't actually have one of these yet, but am considering putting in a request to my husband to construct one for me ;)

clazar123's picture
clazar123

 

Big batch making does not require modern machinery-just 2 hands and necessity. A while ago a video was posted showing French peasants mixing in a large trough. Definitely do-able in the "modern" trough posted by the original poster. Here are some links to actually see how it is done and some of the loaves. Enjoy!

 

http://www.addocs.fr/documentaires-scientifiques/39/les-bles-dor-bande-annonce

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZH98PsrtdLM

 

A good reason to have good inter-generational community gatherings and for people of all "specialties" to be talking about what interests them. It allows the perpetuation of existing knowledge and transfer of concepts from one specialty to another. Why re-invent the wheel.

Search "trough" and several old posts will pop. Very interesting reading.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

 

Big batch making does not require modern machinery-just 2 hands and necessity. A while ago a video was posted showing French peasants mixing in a large trough. Definitely do-able in the "modern" trough posted by the original poster. Here are some links to actually see how it is done and some of the loaves. Enjoy!

 

http://www.addocs.fr/documentaires-scientifiques/39/les-bles-dor-bande-annonce

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZH98PsrtdLM

 

A good reason to have good inter-generational community gatherings and for people of all "specialties" to be talking about what interests them. It allows the perpetuation of existing knowledge and transfer of concepts from one specialty to another. Why re-invent the wheel.

Search bos "trough".  Several older posts will pop. Very interesting read.